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Thursday, 26 May 2011

A Steep Hill

I'm finding the eighty thousand words in eighty days challenge a bit of a steep hill. I keep stopping to have a look at what I've achieved and to think about it, but the view isn't very satisfying. Some days it looks bright and promising. But on most of the others, I look at it and feel empty. There's no substance there. The settings seem insignificant. The characters don't touch me at all. So it's quite a lonely hill, just me standing there with a 'So what?' feeling.

When I used to take part in the online flash fiction competition, Write-Invite, I was almost always pleased with the result. It was the same idea, writing to a deadline of thirty minutes, and therefore a case of pouring out words from the soul. But I can't seem to do it any more. I have tried setting a deadline in much the same way, writing for an hour or so, which yields roughly the thousand words I need for the challenge. But the impetus just isn't there. I don't write with the same charge of adrenaline.

I have set myself themes, so that I have a purpose with each story. But they don't unfold. They trickle in odd tangents and therefore never really gel. I have few decent endings.

I guess that when I finish, I shall edit drastically and rip out the rubbish. But I'm wondering if there will be much left over. It's a bit like a cake my youngest daughter baked the other day. The top, bottom and sides burnt. We sliced them off and then discovered the centre was raw. So we discarded that too. The remainder was delicious - light, fluffy and totally edible. But there wasn't very much of it and it looked a bit messy!

So I hope I shall have something at the end, but it may not be anywhere near the eighty thousand words I need. And whether it is worthwhile or not, I shall have to wait and see. The experience so far is making me feel I ought to cut my losses and give up. At first, I was just pleased to write the required amount, but perhaps that is what is hampering the creative flow. I'm just too interested in completing the daily task, rather than really writing from the heart. But if I could do it with the flash fiction, why can't I do this? Should I keep climbing to the top or accept that the view from there will be foggy and pointless?